Health & Fitness

Growing up we used to have a clap-back for the boys who would tout at us. “Usuzithande waqeda yini usuzothanda mina?”, meaning “have you loved yourself enough before you decided to love me?”. Back then, it was just us telling the boys to “buzz off!”. But, as we grew older and looking back at it now, we realise there was more meaning to it than we realised. This was not just a simple question, and it raises so many questions and meaning into it. Do you love yourself enough to know you can love someone else? Do you care for yourself enough to know you have enough care for others? Before you pour into others, is your cup full?

Time and again, life lessons have proven to us that you cannot give what you do not have, nor act upon something, when your energy is depleted. The same applies to personal relationships. Building a healthy relationship requires you to be healthy yourself in the first place. You cannot take care of others, while you also need care for yourself. The phrase “you cannot pour from an empty cup” has a lot to do with self care. If anything, it should be the first rule when it comes to building and maintaining relationships. Take care of yourself first, before you can take care of others. The same goes in love. You cannot love others when you do not love yourself.

When you are depleted you cannot offer our best selves to the world. You have to be mindful of our own needs and ensure that you are taking care of ourselves first. This means taking time for self-care, getting enough rest and eating a healthy diet. It also means taking time for the things you enjoy, such as spending time with friends and family or engaging in hobbies.

It is also important to recognise when you are feeling overwhelmed or stressed. This can be a sign that you are in need of some self-care and it is important to take the time to focus on your own needs. When things get overwhelming and you cannot seem to catch up with your own self, take a break from what demands the most of you. Disconnect from the hustle and bustle of life, and catch your breath. This will help you reset and restore your personal energy. It does not have to cost you so much.

The most important to remember is that you cannot give what you do not have. Unless you refill what has been depleted, you cannot continue giving. You cannot pour from an empty cup. You have to make sure to take care of yourself so that you can give your best to the world. Besides, how will you know how to love and care for others, when you do not know how to do it to yourself? Unless, if you are toxic.

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There are eight pillars of wellness, so when you’re thinking of self-care Sunday ideas, take all 8 into consideration and make sure none of them are lagging behind. These pillars include: physical, nutritional, emotional, social, spiritual, intellectual, financial, and environmental. Some of these, you’re probably attending to already without knowing that they are part of becoming a better you.

Here are a few questions to help you assess or improve your pillars of wellness.


This includes how well the body that houses you is functioning. Are you exercising? Are you looking good? Do you have a skin care routine? Do you need to learn how to apply makeup? When you look good, you feel good. What does your grooming routine entail? How often does your grooming routine need to be conducted? Are you sleeping enough?


Are you drinking enough water? Do you have a meal plan? Are you giving the body the rights foods that it needs for fuel? Are you avoiding foods that you know aren’t good for you? For example, if you’re lactose intolerant, are you staying away from dairy? Are you taking your multi-vitamins? You can keep a food diary to help you keep track of any foods that don’t agree with you.


Can you identify and sort through your feelings? Do you have coping mechanisms in place for days when you are emotionally distraught? What helps to improve your mood? Do you have people to talk to? Do you have a journal that you update regularly? If you need professional help, do you know where to find it?


Do you have a healthy support network of friends and family? Are you happy with your network? Are you able to be yourself around those closest to you? Are the communication lines clear and open? How often do you check in with your support network? Are you giving to the relationships as much as you are taking? Are you good to them in return?


Do you believe in a Higher Power? Is the Higher Power that you believe in coming through for you? What are some of the spiritual practices required? How often do you need to conduct these spiritual practices? Do you experience supernatural peace when you interact with your Higher Power? Are you spiritually well fed and satisfied without anything lacking?


How are you stimulating your mind? Are you learning  new skills to add to your CV? What are your hobbies? Do you read to learn new things? Do you have a hunger to learn more? Do you have a mentor? Are you following thought leaders in your field on social media? Do you have any brain stimulating games on your phone?


Are you keeping track of your finances? Are you financially disciplined? Do you have a budget? How many streams of income do you have without compromising your general health? What are some harmful misconceptions that you have about finances? How much do you need to make a month to live comfortably? Do you need to pay black tax?


Have you cleaned your room/house? Do you stay in a safe neighbourhood? Is there a neighbourhood watch? Do you have decent neighbours? In case of emergency, what are the community protocols? How far do you stay from essentials such as shops, schools, the police and a hospital? How long do you have to commute to work? Are the bare necessities (water, electricity) available? Are you in the community group chat/forums?

To be fully well, you need to develop healthy habits around the 8 pillars of wellness. This will make you happier and healthier. These questions are just to help you get started on your wellness journey. You can change, add and edit to suit your lifestyle. The key is to master yourself and improve the quality of your life.

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There’s a lot of talk about how unfocused the youth of this time is and to be frank with you it’s quite frustrating. I mean no one decided they wanted to be a ‘loser.’ We all grew up with dreams and aspirations. I’m sure everyone reading this can relate. There was that one composition we all wrote about ” When I Grow Up.” I am 100% confident none of them included being a deadbeat youth.

​The situation in Zimbabwe is frustrating for a lot of age groups especially the youth. One goes to school and if you’re fortunate enough to advance to university. I say fortunate because some people can’t afford to further their studies with inflation rising making basic commodities expensive or even hard to come by. The youth therefore fall in to depression some turn to alcohol and substance abuse and others turn to crime. It’s not at all pleasant and ends up affecting the majority because it has a ripple effect on everyone else. For example the victims of the crime whether the crime involves theft, vandalism, or violence, the victim always suffers loss. The victim may incur expenses related to lost wages, health care, or psychological care in addition to the cost of replacing damaged or destroyed items. The community as well starts to feel unsafe costing large amounts of neighbourhood money to be spent on law enforcement like neighbourhood watch. The family of the delinquent and the victim’s family will also have to get counselling and work through the trauma. I meant it when I said it has a ripple effect. So many lives hang in the balance.

The kids have no leisure centres or safe places for play. They hang around shopping areas, night clubs and throw Vuzu parties. Ask yourself this, “if you were a teenager today, where would you go to hang out with your friends?” Zimbabwe is stressful. The youth need places to learn new skills, play, relax and have fun.

​To curb the high rise of delinquent youth recreational facilities must be put in place. Recreation programs allow youths to connect with other adults and children in the community. Such positive relationships may assist children in later years. Youth programs must be designed to fit the personalities and skills of different children and may include sports, dancing, music, rock climbing, drama, karate, bowling, art, and other activities. The parks must be revived, the drive-by must be resuscitated. The skating rink at the park is a step in the right direction. We need to build more centres for the youth to grow and hone their talents, art studios sporting areas, and even counselling services for the youth to feel like they’re being heard and noticed. Positive community involvement such as opening tuckshops and employing the youth at the stalls. Free education or free programmes must be provided to the youth including skills oriented courses for those who aren’t gifted academically so that it is well rounded and everyone is catered for. It can be done if we as a community stand together and put in the work.

The conversation around suicide amongst the Zimbabwean youth had hit fever pitch. We will soon reach a point where each one of us will personally know someone who took their own life. The economy is hard. Trying to be an entrepreneur in this economy is close to futile, especially if you are not in the capital city. Leaving the country is the goal but that’s not simple either. There’s xenophobia and the capital required to relocate. It is hard. We need more safe spaces for counseling and mental health services. This chronic stress is taking it’s toll on the youth and they have turned to drugs and alcohol. It is very hard to not feel like a failure when it’s just the system that has failed you. We aren’t asking for a lot, just the basics.

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Lately, I am finding joy in the little things I had forgotten to do. I remember when I used to watch the much loved series “Being Mary Jane ” the character played by Gabrielle Union would put colourful sticky notes on her mirror to remind herself of certain things. Mainly these sticky notes had quotes that also helped her to make decisions during difficult times. I used to think 24 hours was too little. A part of me still does. Then a little voice in my heart reminds me that it’s actually more than enough. What we lack is balance, discipline and prioritisation. I believe.

I am not sure if it’s the purpose we are pursuing or money, or legacy that keeps us so busy. We want it all, right? Petrol in South Africa recently went up several times in the 1st quarter of 2022 affecting everything else financially. The cost of living has gone up. So on top of chasing dreams and careers there is that sharp unavoidable reality , we have to live and we must be able to afford our very own existence. This then gets us into that rat race of chasing the money. I also find that the young and modern African woman is on the drive to achieve her dreams at peak as soon as possible. In this race you can potentially neglect yourself and those around you. So how do you achieve balance and how do you prioritise?

  • What moments are important to you? How often do you do these things? Basically what is your happy pill? 
  • How much of YOU do you keep to yourself? 
  • How much time do you invest in things where you are not remunerated? 
  • How much time do you invest in your community? 
  • How often do you volunteer your time or skills towards the upliftment of teenagers and women? 

My 2022 started on a high note and I am still excited about the rest of the year. About 3 months ago, I started to notice that I was dropping the ball and starting to have a monotonous routine and at night I am just burnt out and all I want is to sleep. So I took a mental break, just a moment to reflect. I then went back to that happy place that replenishes me and allows me to take a few steps back and BREATHE! 

Here’s my list of the things I do as much as I can to balance my life.  

I look forward to weekends so I can play with my son. I don’t plan as many events or outings at this time. 

I enjoy reading. Even if it’s one page per day or week. I will make time for it. My mind needs an escape . It’s a constant battle. Sometimes I forget but at the most I will set a reminder for this. 

I take time away from my desk at work to actually eat. I had developed a habit of eating at my desk and not taking  a moment away from work. This is not healthy at all. It increases burnout. 

I am starting to collect graphics of the art I love and saw myself collecting. I love art and I need to see it in my room, on my phone, on my laptop screen cover etc. Art reminds me to continue dreaming and that everything I want and believe in is possible. Remember the saying “out of sight, out of mind”? If the things you aspire to do or see are not in front of you everyday it’s easy to forget them. Never undermine the power of hope and faith. 

I call and check on people I appreciate every now and again . Touching base with family or friends or old colleagues is good for us and vice versa. Sometimes going down memory lane and having a quick recap of the mischief you and your cousins got up to or office politics etc is all we need. The world has become more and more distant with social media. Even though it connects us, it is also the very distraction people use to disconnect from the world.


I sleep. People often say if you sleep you have no problems. I can sleep in the midst of turbulence. Once I decide that I need a mental break, I just take a nap. Even in the middle of the day. I learnt a long time ago that some things in life resolve themselves. Sometimes I won’t have all the solutions even to my own challenges. So sleep allows my mind to rest. If you are at your best mentally you see things from a different angle therefore whatever solution you can bring to the table will be from a healthy mind. I am so selfish with my sleep that after 9pm I switch off my data to avoid notifications coming through. That little time I have I don’t take for granted.

Lastly, I am intentional with the content I choose to consume. I don’t miss an opportunity to watch comedy, go to Tik Tok or YouTube in search of something to make me laugh. I might be stating the obvious but when was the last time you had a good laugh that made you cry till your lungs hurt



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There’s nothing more erratic than being on your menstrual cycle. You lose control almost over everything. No two periods are ever the same and you could reach menopause and still not be used to having Aunt Flo show up every single month. There is assured discomfort at this time of the month, every month. Not only is the actual period uncomfortable, some of the pain management remedies are equally as not ideal. Have you ever been burnt by a hot water bottle?

We still live in a world where women still need to disclose being on their period and be exempted from certain religious practices. Despite being extremely uncomfortable, women are still required to carry on as if everything is normal. Since the 28th of May is Menstrual Hygiene Day, here are some of the ways in which menstruation is uncomfortable.

Premenstrual Syndrome

PMS is such a confusing time. You don’t know if you are pregnant or terminally ill. The boobs hurt, they are heavy as stone, you are nauseated. You have headaches, abdominal cramps and mood swings to boot. One minute you’re fine and the next you’re crying buckets for no reason.

Period Pain

According to scientists, period pain can be equated to an actual heart attack. The scientific name for period pain is dysmenorrhoea. If you have severe period pain, please visit a gynaecologist and get a professional diagnosis. Period pain can be mistaken for a more serious condition like Endometriosis. Stay ready for those spontaneous sharp butt pains which render your legs useless.

Lack of supplies

Due to water rationing, most women and girls don’t have access to running water. The debate about reusable pads raises the issues of hygiene and safety of reusable pads without running water. Disposable pads are a luxury for under privileged girls. Not having pads doesn’t excuse girls from their daily chores. So they resort to unsafe products instead of sanitary wear.

Leakage freakage

The reason why pads have wings is because they take flight so much. The glue on pads is clearly fake. Every time you sit down you have to run an assessment. What colour is the chair? Can I get up from it without anyone seeing if I’ve leaked. When people are leaving, you want to be the last one and you want to be the absolute last one to get up so that you can run a check before you leave. Most girls were surprised by their first period and have PTSD of having leaked in front of the whole class.


One thing a period will do, is surprise you. You can track your days and it will still show up or not. You dread having to survive period pain but have you ever had your period not show up? This is terrifying especially if you’ve indulged in sexual relations because now you think you’re expecting a baby. Truth is, you can have a delayed period for a myriad of reasons.

When you sneeze while you’re on your cycle and it feels like the river Nile just gushed out onto your pad. Now you’re unsure if it leaked onto your clothing.

Anything that isn’t fresh doesn’t have a pleasant smell. You know how a butchery filled with old blood smells? Now you’re scared that everyone can smell your period. Not only that, but if you have to share a bed with someone else, forget about a peaceful sleep, with every toss and turn, you’re wondering if you have displaced your pad which will now leak. Also, can the person sharing the bed with you smell your period?


For girls with longer periods, the pads may cause chaffing due to the prolonged friction. There’s also the issue of not knowing exactly when your period will end. You’ll get a clean pad twice and thinking you’re home free and then all of a sudden, the last kicks of a dying horse. To protect yourself, invest in some pantyliners so that the residue from the cycle doesn’t catch you off guard. Develop a period aftercare routine to re-calibrate the hormones and pH balance.

Not only is the period uncomfortable, the home remedies you resort to, are equally a thorn in the flesh. Please seek medical advice from a medical expert on pain management. If you buy the right period products for you and change them as regularly required, you should be fine. Minimise your movements, take your painkillers, hydrate and stay away from light-coloured clothing.

All the best for the next time your uterus punishes you for not giving it a baby.

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I recently discovered the Vybz App on the Sisters Connected page on Facebook. It’s an amazing app for women and girls in Zimbabwe even though the content can be consumed by anyone in the world.

Is something strange going on with your private parts? Are you too shy to speak to someone else about it? And you are cash-strapped to go and see a doctor? That’s where the Vybz App comes in. The app allows you to access a wide range of Sexual and Reproductive Health services and resources for free on your mobile phone.

You can chat to an expert over WhatsApp.

When I texted them, I was responded to in under an hour which was pleasantly surprising. I asked my question and received an insightful response. The expert was accommodating and professional during our chat. I had many interlinking questions and all of them were answered to my satisfaction.

One of the other cooler features of the app was that it has a Spin the Wheel game. This game has two categories to choose from between HIV or Sexual Reproduction Health related trivia questions. It added to the cool vibes of the app. Now when people ask me if I have games on my phone I can say yes.

The Self Risk Assessment quiz allows you to answer a series of questions in order to gauge your exposure to contracting HIV. I think the questions could be improved upon but this is a great start. Once you get your risk results, there’s information about how you may retain control over your sexual health to avoid falling sick.

What else did I like about the Vybz App?

  • It is user-friendly
  • Most of the resources are available offline
  • There’s a Vybz Man section for the other gender
  • There’s a directory of SRHR service providers with addresses
  • There’s a resourceful Menstruation Handbook with period pain management tips
  • There’s a period tracker within the app
  • You can book an appointment directly from the app
  • The app has no ads or paid features

You may download the Vybz App from the Google Playstore by clicking here.

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During my time overseas, I met a Liberian girl who wore waist beads. Nothing fancy, just one bright strand of glass beads around her small waist. She explained to me how she uses the waist beads to keep track of her weight. I thought, “those must be some magic beads.” If they get me a small waist then sign me up immediately.

Fast forward to two years later, I now wear 5 strands of waist beads.

Why waist beads?

I’d love to say that they are spiritual but that would be a lie. I really wish they were. There are some people who are spiritually gifted who have to wear waist beads as instructed by their spirit guides. Some are given the waist beads when they are born. This is most prevalent in African cultures who believe the waist beads will bring blessings, protection, divine health, depending on what colour the beads are. Yes, the colour of the beads is critical.

What’s the big deal surrounding waist beads?

I came across a post that cautioned men not to mess around with women who wear waist beads. All the author said is, men should run when they meet women with waist beads, he didn’t bother explaining why. I’m very curious to find out how he came to that conclusion.

Are all waist beads wearers bad?

Like literally anything and everything on this planet, there are some people who have perverted waist beads and thus resultantly, created a stereotype surrounding waist beads. I was doing my wedding rounds with my best friend and my waist beads kept peeking at the top of my jeans. When we were in the car she said to me, “Maybe it’s best you leave them at home when you are wearing jeans. Not too many people will understand that they are just for aesthetics.” This is the last thing I wanted considering I was about to join a new family whose beliefs I wasn’t sure of.

Aren’t waist beads sexual?

In my research, I came across an article which implies that women will cast spells on their waist beads almost like a love potion to enchant men. I can’t disprove this claim because I don’t know the first thing about mystic things.

Some women will earn waist beads during sex education trainings such as Chinamwali. This is an African culture ritual for women to learn about their sexuality. It’s much more than just about sex. This practice is frowned upon due to the rigorous nature and possible sexual abuse of girls as young as 12 years old. In this new age, young women can signup for the watered-down version of these Chinamwali sessions which may or may not include, back-breaking.

What do my waist beads mean to me?

I was influenced by Beyoncé to get some of them. She mentions them in her song, ‘Black Parade.’ She is also adorning them in her promo videos for Ivy Park Drip. In this one video, she has her back towards the camera, twerks, and the waist beads pop out and back under. It’s a game of peek-a-boo. There’s a sensuality that comes with wearing waist beads. It’s the same feeling you get when you are wearing cute lingerie or a pretty dress. I find myself moving my waist a lot just to hear them jingle. Hopefully, this leads to a smaller waist.

As women, we need to be allowed to wear whatever we want, society be damned. Prudes will be infuriated by waist beads because of the sexual liberation the waist beads allude to. If you wear waist beads you are seen as a Jezebel temptress or Siren luring men to their deaths. A gender which is always sexually assaulting women, even spiritually with Mubobobo, is afraid of glass beads. Make it make sense.

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In early 2014 I was lucky to be part of a group of female journalists from all over Africa invited to witness and experience the work done at New Start Centers across Zimbabwe on cervical cancer screening. Cervical cancer has been named one of the most common killers among women today and yet it is also one of the most curable if detected early.

Zimbabwe embarked on a series of screening campaigns which unfortunately has been overwhelming for health practitioners who have to work with limited resources and citizens who have to be on a waiting list for weeks and at times months to be called for a screening procedure.

So for me it was delighting to be able to bypass the waiting list and be able to undergo this life saving procedure so as to encourage other ladies to get it done as well. First I went for an HIV test after which I went into a small room with a large TV monitor and a few computers and complicated looking machines. A lady in white who was behind the computer asked me to remove my trousers and to lie facing upwards on the bed with my legs apart.

I had heard all sorts of rumours about how your uterus is sucked out of you and put on a table and then examined. I was expecting an unpleasant feeling while lying there with my legs apart. I could even hear the lady grab some metal sounding tools from a bucket with a clear liquid in it. As I tilted my head slightly to the side to see what it was I spotted a curved medium sized metal object, half the palm of my hand in width and about 15-20 centimeters long. I was still wondering where she planned to put that thing when I felt a cold movement in my vagina and like something making its way in. It felt like I was being opened up and some air was rushing into my privates. Later the monitor was alive with pictures of the inner lining of my uterus in full view on the screen. It was dark pinkish in colourand shiny. The lady asked me to compare what I was seeing on the monitor to what was on pictures around the examination room to get my result. I told her it looked like there were no signs of cancer cells and she agreed. I asked her why then the skin looked so dark almost red and she said it is because I had had a baby before and was on contraceptives and that is how the womb would react to such experiences.

For the next couple of hours, I kept trying to squeeze my legs together because it still felt like the metal object was still up there somewhere. I was however glad that at least for the next 12 months had been given the nod of good health.

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Going through that time of the month is a turbulent and definitely a trying time without having to worry about additional stress. The plight of the Zimbabwean girl isn’t only about affordable sanitary wear but also accessible reproductive health services and the basic human right of water. The worst thing that can happen to a girl is for her to wake up on her period and find out that there is no water.

During the menstrual cycle, anything can go wrong. Leakages happen all the time. I am nearly 30 years old and I still hesitate to stand up when I am on my period just in case I had a leakage and my dress or chair is now stained. When the worst happens, you’ll need water nearby to clean yourself up and the affected items.

Since the biblical times, the menstruation cycle has been considered dirty physically and spiritually. If I go on my period and it’s on a weekend or I am at home, I’d ideally like to take at least three showers in the day. I get heat flashes when I am on my cycle so I get sweaty and need to keep refreshing. I can’t do that if there’s no water which increases my discomfort during my period.

Most girls suffer from what is called dysmenorrhea. Which is the scientific name for severe period pain. Most of the remedies for period pain include water. Either placing a hot water bottle on your tummy/back or drinking warm water or simply taking pills. All this means that the girl needs to have a constant water supply.

If its yellow, let it mellow but if its brown, flush it down.

We’ve all heard this right? Well, when you are on your period you have to flush every single time. Nobody needs to see that mess. Imagine having to go outside to go and find a bucket of water for flushing and having to carry it across the house meanwhile your back is burning from severe period pain. Doesn’t sound fun does it? It is so much discomfort because you can’t go and visit other people because going to the loo in a strange place is a chore.

Water is a basic human right and women need access to clean sources of water especially during their monthly cycle. Clean water is essential to ensuring that women’s reproductive health is preserved. I hope one day our leaders or any decision makers in this space do their best to improve the situation of lack of water.

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My worst fear has always been stumbling upon a terminal illness and doctors saying to me, “If we had caught it earlier maybe we could have done something about it but it’s too late now.”

This hypochondria is the reason why I always go for my health check-ups as scheduled. I go for an HIV test as often as I can and now that they test for HIV by swabbing the saliva in your mouth, its less scarier than the thumb prick blood method. So I went to the United Bulawayo Hospitals (UBH) for a free VIAC which is a cervical cancer screening. I had tried to go to NewStart but they were booked for the next three months. I didn’t have that long to wait. I needed to know what’s what.

I woke up early to go to UBH. They serve you on a first come, first served basis. I needed to be first. I sat in the waiting room. I was third. By the time 08:00 hours came around, the queue was absurd. My turn came and I walked towards the screening room. My nerves were killing me. I had never done this before. I knew what they were going to check so I made sure that I was shaved in preparation.

A young woman was going to do the test. She asked me about my reproductive health. She asked very personal questions but I guess they have cause to probe that deep. After she was done taking notes, she instructed me to remove my underwear and mount myself on the fancy chair. They make you put your feet up and your legs are wide open. This isn’t the time to be shy. Keep your eye on the prize, remember why you came.

She explained the procedure and what exactly she is going to do. She scooped the cotton wool and dipped it in what smelt like vinegar. She then placed it where she supposed to and said we must wait. After a couple of minutes she took a picture and showed it to me. She explained that if the result had been positive a white froth would have appeared.

I was then told to go and get a free HIV test in the next building. This took a much longer time. It wasn’t complicated, it was a standard HIV test using the prick thumb method. I got my results and took them back to the first building. She explained to me that they run the HIV test to determine when next I should come for my next VIAC. If my HIV test had come out positive, I’d have had to come for a VIAC annually. This is because the HIV increases my risk to cervical cancer and other opportunistic diseases.

You need to overcome the fear of the unknown and get this cervical cancer check done. It is a free and simple procedure. It’s minimally intrusive. It is much less intrusive than a pap smear. Get a group of friends together and make it a tradition. The nerves are calmer and time goes by real fast if you are with people that you trust.

Read More:

When will you go for a cervical cancer screening?

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